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Pictograph! Beginner’s Guide to Paleo

November 25, 2015960Views5Comments
Beginner's Paleo food list
An easy, picturesque guide to get you started detailing the do’s and don’t’s of the diet, meal ideas, exercise, and stress management!
The “Eat Lots of This” includes meats (all kinds), fish, eggs, avocado and coconut as great plant-based sources of saturated fat, veggies, and herbs and spices. These should be eaten liberally and compose the majority of the diet.
Some of This” includes fruit and nuts. Both are great to eat in moderation but consuming too much fruit gives an excess dose of fructose, a sugar that can only be processed by the liver, and too many nuts can lead to a bloating and lower than ideal omega-3s.
Maybe These” includes the ‘controversial’ Paleo foods honey, dairy, and potatoes. Honey is a sugar as shouldn’t be eaten in excess, especially if insulin and inflammation are concerns. Dairy some people handle well and others don’t. If you don’t know which category you’re in, try cutting out dairy for 30 days then add it back. See if you have any weight gain, discomfort, or bloating. Most people tolerate butter. Potatoes are very starchy and are quickly converted to sugars in the body. Similar to honey, if inflammation or insulin are an issue it’s best to avoid potatoes.
NONE of These” includes all the things you should be avoiding. It’s harder than it sounds! Grains includes all grains. No exceptions. There is some discussion over wild rice, sorghum, and other non-cereal grains but they are grains and have similar effects on the gut and overall health. Vegetable oil is next to impossible to avoid if you eat out. This includes soy oil, corn, canola, sunflower, etc.. Most restaurants cook with these oils. Luckily I’ve been seeing a reversal of this trend. It’s actually a fun test for me now, I ask the server if the salad dressing has canola oil in it. If they give me a blank look or tell me all the dressings do, then I know the restaurant is just average. If they laugh and tell me of course it’s just olive oil and they would never use canola oil in a dressing then I know I’m more likely to be getting what I’m paying for. A restaurant that knows canola oil is a poor substitute for olive or avocado oil knows good food.
Soy in general should be avoided. Tofu, soy oil, edamame. You won’t drop dead but it’s a seriously high dose of estrogen which isn’t good for men or women. Peanuts aren’t actually nuts. They’re like soy’s less-harmful cousin.
For candy: just don’t eat it. If it’s in a bright colored wrapper I promise it has ingredients derived from corn, wheat, or soy. And Hershey’s doesn’t get a pass, it’s not real chocolate anyways. Similar caution for processed foods, if it’s in a wrapper, cardboard tube, or crinkly bag it’s almost certain to have corn, soy, or wheat. A few exceptions have come on the market lately, Boulder has avocado, coconut, and olive oil potato chips and Utz used to have some cooked in lard (haven’t seen those lately). If you really want chips, read the ingredients label carefully. If it’s good, it should have two ingredients. The first is potato, the second is avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or lard.
Anything else on the ingredients list, if you don’t know what it is or can’t pronounce it, it is probably soy, wheat, or corn. I promise. You’ll be surprised if you start reading labels and googling ingredients. They. Are. All. Grains. Avoid natural and artificial flavoring if possible, there is never any guarantee what they were derived from. Google “vanilla beaver anal gland” if you don’t believe me. It’s a bit sensationalized but at least highlights the sources often have nothing to do with the final flavor.
Meal Ideas Some weeks I have time to make a bunch of little quiches in silicon muffin cups or a glass dish to reheat for breakfast through out the week. If not, I’ll cook eggs and bacon or mix up a breakfast shake. (Check back for recipes and videos!)
I like to make lunch ahead of time too, if I can. I’ll roast a chicken or make soup to take for part of the week. If I can’t, I’ll throw together a salad with chicken, avocado, or boiled eggs. I make my own almond flour bread that works well for sandwiches, too.
Dinner when the weather is nice is great because I can convince Adam to grill. Steak, pork, chicken wings, fish, and veggies are just a few things we throw on. When I’m cooking inside I’ll bake a spaghetti squash and make marinara and meatballs, make my Paleo Pizza, or throw steak, eggs, or fish in a hot skillet. I keep salad stuff on hand for a quick side dish.
Exercise Do some heavy lifting, maybe 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes. My favorite method is Pavel Tsatsouline’s. I lift weights, 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps and that’s it. If I start feeling muscle burn, I stop. Contrary to conventional wisdom, “feeling the burn” isn’t really helping you, most of the strength building work is done before that point. High intensity interval training (HIIT) and sprints are the only cardio you should be taking on, maybe 1-2 times a week. This involves short circuits of different activities. Think Work Out of the Day. Be careful choosing you WoD, when in doubt, drop down a level and never sacrifice form. If you are getting into weightlifting, form is key. Please get a coach who knows what they are doing or partner with a buddy who does (hopefully). Also, get a lot of low level activity like walking, yoga, and hiking in. I realize yoga is very trendy and some people use it as a workout. I don’t. To me, yoga is meditative and about meeting and accepting your body’s limits. That doesn’t mean you have to follow my lead, but if you go to a yoga class, don’t push yourself into twists that pinch or feel forced, you can really get hurt.
Most important, have FUN. Do something active with family and friends! Heck, even Wii sports can be active. Sub a hike or tennis match for a movie. It really helps with motivation, too. I love long hikes, yoga, dance, and martial arts. These are what motivate me when I’m in the gym at lunch trying to get motivated to work on my pull-ups despite the awkward guy in the corner trying to show off how he can do more than me. (I’m veeeeeery impressed random gym dude.)
And finally, reduce your stress and get some sleep! Find something that helps you relax. That doesn’t mean zoning out to the TV. It might turn off the chatter in your head but that adrenaline and the flashing blue lights aren’t doing much for your body or nerves. Take the dog for a walk (assuming she doesn’t yank your arm off), read, meditate (yoga!), have a mug of tea and sit, stroll through the woods…find something that works for you. Eliminating that flashing blue light of the screen will help you get some more sleep anyways. Shoot for 8 hours in a dark room. I have blackout curtains and electrical tape covering the annoying flashing lights manufactures assume I want on the electrics in my room. Some people can sleep with a mask, I can’t but it’s a great option.
Most of all, don’t get down on yourself. This is a lot. Lifestyle changes are hard. Take it a step at a time. Cut out grains today, vegetable oils next month, and get blackout curtains when you’re at the store and have an extra $20. Don’t get down on yourself if the fries are cooked in peanut oil. It’s annoying, but it’s life. This is meant to be your ideal guide, not to add to your stress.

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Source: Rx Primal Blog

Becky Davis

Becky Davis

Hello, I'm Becky! I'm here to help you make the Paleo diet an easy part of your daily life. With my quick recipes, tips, and strategies readers and clients add healthy practices and stick with them! To hear a little more about my background, check out the "About Me" section or find me on social media.

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